In touring two local waste water treatment plants (Crested Butte South and Gunnison), and working with many different operators, here are some of their similar comments:
-A lot of people in the waste water industry are getting close to retirement. Many of these operators have worked at the plant for thirty years or more, and are now reaching retirement age. This means there are a lot of positions about to open up locally. I imagine this is trend nationwide with the majority of operators close to retirement.
-These plants were both very small, which had many advantages. These operators had many more aspects of running the facility that they took part including maintenance, waste water treatment, lab work, and any other tasks as needed. Large cities tend to have operators "sit in a room and turn a knob," instead of being involved in all aspects of the facility. Working in a smaller plant provides more opportunities to learn new things, and less boredom.
-The job security is very stable "because everyone poops." Demand for these positions is not expected to decrease, which brings me to the next popular slogan "one way or another, that crap's got to get cleaned up". I appreciate the sense of humor of these operators!
-The water treatment licenses from testing (Distribution and Collection, waste water class licenses, drinking water class licenses, etc) can also be applied to other fields, such as certifying drinking water for restaurants, campgrounds, and other facilities. There are other water testing positions that require licensing, and it's possible to start your own business doing water testing.